Celtic look towards England

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The Independent Football

The Celtic chairman, Brian Quinn, yesterday insisted that the club's current financial situation has made the need to join the Premiership – and the extra revenues that would bring – even more urgent.

Quinn has already asked the Celtic manager, Martin O'Neill, to "limit" his transfer dealings as the club looks at cutting back on costs. And yesterday he revealed that player costs at the club had increased by 36 per cent since last year.

O'Neill has brought in John Hartson, Steve Guppy, Momo Sylla and Bobo Balde this season for combined fees of just £8.3m. But Quinn also points the finger at player's wages, bonuses and contract extensions.

"A glance at any football club's accounts will show the real call on finances comes from player remuneration – wages and bonuses – transfers usually form a smaller part, partly reflecting the effects of the Bosman ruling" Quinn said. "The balance between buying and paying players, including contract extensions and enhancements is one of the decisions taken by the football manager and not by the board, which has always backed his judgement.

"We have to remember that the upward pressure on costs of Scottish football clubs have been remorseless. This growth in costs clearly cannot go on if we are to remain financially sound."

The news is certain to frustrate the Celtic manager, who has been the subject of speculation linking him with the Manchester United manager's job. Until now O'Neill has always maintained that he was happy at Parkhead, but was in support of the club's ambitions to play in the Premiership.

The Premiership clubs voted unanimously against that, but the Celtic chairman vowed that would not discourage them from moving to England.

"We do not see the recent announcement by the FA Premier League clubs as the last word and, indeed, never expected any change. That is not how things happen. Nor do we see interest on our part as a criticism of other Scottish clubs," Quinn said. "We believe a development that takes account of the interests of Scottish football is urgent and necessary, given the financial situation. The board sees it as crucial that Celtic plays more competitive football, and will pursue that possibility in the period ahead when the opportunity arises. We would not be doing our job otherwise."

Hibernian have decided not to appeal against the dismissal of Francisco Luna after the Spaniard admitted he was guilty of retaliating. The former Dundee striker was sent off in the 1-0 defeat at Dunfermline after appearing to lash out at Scott Thomson following a late tackle by the Pars midfielder.

The new Hibs manager, Franck Sauzee, had looked set to appeal to the Scottish Football Association after television evidence showed little contact, but he has chosen not to after Luna admitted some responsibility. Luna will now miss the Edinburgh derby at Hearts on 2 December.

Dundee's Zura Khizanishvili will seek treatment in Italy on his injured knee. The Georgian will head to see the Dark Blues' coach Ivano Bonetti's specialist in Bologna after a collision with Henrik Larsson at Parkhead on Saturday. "They couldn't exactly diagnose it and that's why we agreed to take a course of treatment in Bologna," Khizanishvili said.

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